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King Airport Briefly Closes Part Of Runway

Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas closed part of its runway briefly Monday morning to make emergency repairs.
The V.I. Port Authority closed the first 1,200 feet of the runway between 9:59 a.m. and 11:12 a.m. to repair freshly laid pavement dislodged by a departing American Airlines jet.
Only one outgoing Delta flight was delayed, according to the Authority’s spokesperson, Monifa Marrero.
King Airport has only one runway, 7,000 feet long by 150 feet wide, and the remaining 5,800 feet was open for use by smaller aircraft, according to a release from the Authority.
“All inbound flights were able to land because they were smaller jets,” Marrero said. “Delta was the only [large] jet that was scheduled to depart around that time. It was scheduled to depart at 8:30 a.m. and did not depart until 11:30 a.m.”
Delta had already boarded 124 passengers for its 9 a.m. flight for Atlanta when the Port Authority closed the runway. The jet needed the extra 1,200 feet for take off. Passengers remained on board for about one and one half hours before they were deplaned.
“We definitely took care of them on the aircraft,” Carlos Morciglio, Delta Airlines performance leader at King, said in a telephone interview. “They had air-conditioning and movies and drinks available.”
After deplaning, passengers had about 10 minutes to get refreshments, stretch their legs and use the facilities before they reboarded the aircraft.
The airport is under a nine-month, $15 million runway repaving effort with completion expected in early December. This is the first time the runway has been renovated since its construction in 1991. The construction goes on overnight from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., after which the pavement is tested for specification compliance.
While the airport has experienced some flight delays during the runway renovation, there has never been a closure of the whole airport, Marrero said. Closures have been limited to the damaged portions of the runway.
Since the project began in March, the airport has had to close portions at least four times, resulting in some diversions.

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